Before starting on a systematic comparison, consider first a LEQ sentence illustrating a number of diagnostic features in which it differs from its Southern Peruvian counterpart:(2)
Also, note that in the Peruvian case the conditional clause precedes the main verb, while in LEQ it follows the main verb.
In Table 1 are listed a number of the features separating the two sets of varieties; here the LEQ features hold for all or most of the Ecuadorean Quechua varieties.
Let us now consider in more detail how LEQ is related linguistically to highland dialects of Ecuadorean Quechua.
Phonologically, LEQ has several conservative features as well:
It shares this feature with the dialects of Tungurahua and Chimborazo, but not with other dialects, including the LEQ T (= Tena) dialect) and LEQ B (= Bobonaza) dialect:
LEQ has not participated in the vowel-change rule of the neighboring dialects, which has resulted in raising some instances of a to i or u, in words such as kunun `now' and yachik `witch', derived from kunan and yachak,
In addition to these conservative features, which it shares with different Sierra dialects but in each case with a different one, and which point to a common origin for all dialects involved, LEQ also has a number of innovative traits, some of which it shares, again, with different Sierra varieties.
Metathesis of kt clusters in words such as utku `hole', a process that occurs in the B and T varieties of LEQ and in the Sierra varieties of Cotopaxi and Pichincha, which border on B and T.
Deletion of initial glides in the T variety of LEQ and in the immediately adjacent Sierra dialect of Salasaca (Tungurahua), resulting in ira from wira `fat', ikuna from yaykuna `enter', etc.
Altogether we can establish a number of isoglosses intersecting with each other, linking LEQ for a number of conservative, traits to various Sierra dialects, some distant, some neighboring, and, for some very specific innovations, to dialects in its immediate vicinity.
Finally, some varieties of LEQ have undergone specific developments not shared by any Sierra dialect.